Detective Samuel Slater, Jr.

Detective Samuel Slater, Jr.

Grand Rapids Police Department, Michigan

End of Watch Friday, December 9, 1921

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Samuel Slater, Jr.

Detective Slater and Special Officer George Brandsma were shot and killed after responding to a house to arrest suspect bank robbers. Detective Slater and Officer Brandsma were acting on a tip that said two suspected bank robbers were at a house on Weaver Street SE. The tip was thought to be false by Detective Slater since so many tips had been false throughout the day. Detective Slater elected to take just one officer, Officer Brandsma, to assist him.

As the officers arrived at the home of the tipster, who lived across from the suspect's home, the suspects saw them and turned out all the lights. The two officers watched the home for a short time, and then decided to go knock on the door.

As the two officers were walking up the sidewalk leading to the door of the suspect's home, shots rang out. Detective Slater was shot through the door.

Officer Brandsma rushed the door and forced his way into the home but was shot several times when be entered the home and was killed instantly. Detective Slater staggered back to the tipster's home where he collapsed. He was brought to the hospital by responding officers and died two days later.

Detective Slater was murdered on his 54th birthday. He had served with the Grand Rapids Police Department for 24 years and was survived by his wife and three children.

14 years earlier, Detective Slater's brother, Patrolman Henry Slater, also of the Grand Rapids Police Department was killed after being struck by a train while standing on his post.


  • Age 54
  • Tour 24 years
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Incident Date Wednesday, December 7, 1921
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Not available

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Rest in peace and Olav Hashalom Detective Slater.

Rabbi Lewis S. Davis

November 25, 2019

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